A Guide to Christmas Fizz

Fantastic Fizz for Feast and Fun.

Let’s Get the Party Started!

After the last couple of years, the idea of being able to have our nearest and dearest around the house is very exciting. When it comes to big gatherings, you wine selection needs to fit two important criteria.

  1. It needs to appeal to everyone: Now isn’t the time to introduce gran to orange wine, or get your friend who normally drinks cocktails to try an aged Bordeaux. Wines for a party need to have broad appeal. Something approachable for everyone, but good enough that wine lovers will still enjoy.
  2. It needs to be great value: hide your champagne, lock-up your vintage port and bury you Burgundy. Whilst great wine is essential for a great party, expensive wine isn’t. There are plenty of wines out there that offer amazing value, allowing you to stock up on quantity.

Our Prosecco Frizzante and Royal Rose fit this bill perfectly.

You can’t beat a timeless classic (especially for gifts).

Thanks to the rise in popularity of Prosecco, the sparkling wine market is becoming more exciting and diverse. However, there is always going to be a place for well made classics. Not only are these two sparkling wines great all rounders for welcome drinks to New Year’s Eve Toasting, they also make excellent gifts.

Collet 1er Cru Brut: A wine with style and substance. This multi award winning Champagne uses grape exclusively from Premier and Grand cru vineyards. Aged for 4 years to show the perfect balance of citrus freshness and toasty complexity.

Saffron Grange Classic Cuvee: We’ve been serving this by the glass for most of year, and everyone loves it. A bit fresher and leaner than champagne, this wine perfectly shows how good English sparkling wine can be.

From Toasting wines to Toasty wines!

Wines made by the Traditional Method (like Champagne) are characterised by notes of toast, brioche & biscuit, which pairs perfectly with the citrus and green fruit notes in the wine. These wines are fantastic for pairing with canapés (from puff pastry vol-au-vents to deep fried camembert bites), Pates on toast and even salmon starters. This year we have two fantastic wines with pronounced toasty notes for a more complex and food friendly fizz.

The Trouble with Dreams: This multi-award winning sparkling is easily the most exciting English wine I’ve tried. A barrel Fermented Chardonnay & Pinot Noir blend made by Dermot Sugrue, the winemaker that put Nyetimber on the map.

61 Saten Brut: Franciacorta is Italy’s answer to Champagne. This wine is 100% Chardonnay aged for 24 months to develop that lovely toasty complexity.

Start off your day with a fizz and a pop

There are only two times in life when its perfectly acceptable to wake up and drink immediately, when getting an early morning flight for a holiday and Christmas morning. Our Moscato d’Asti is the perfect wine for enjoying with a spot of breakfast and some presents. Moscato is slightly sweet, lightly sparkling and most importantly, only 5% abv. This wine is packed with notes of juicy peach and apricot and could even have a dash of orange juice added for light weight mimosa.


Christmas Cheese and Wine Pairing

Wine and Cheese pairing has so many possibilities, Christmas sees like a great opportunity to explore them fully. In this blog we explore wines for specific types of cheeses, as well as wines that will work as a great all rounder for any cheeseboard.

Creamy Cheese: Brie, Camembert, Baron Bigod

Goats Cheese: Chevre, Ticklemore, Ragstone

Semi Hard Cheese: Cheddar, Manchego, Comte

Blue Cheese: Stilton, Beauvale, Blue Vinny

Best All Rounders

Christmas, News

7 Great Wines for Roast Beef

I’m going to be honest, this started out as “5 Great Wines for Roast Beef”, but there was just too many good options.

You can’t beat Bordeaux (or Bordeaux Blends)

It’s possibly one of the most classical pairings, and for good reason. The salt in the dish smooths out the intense grippy tannins of Cab Sauv, making the wine seem smoother and fruitier. The wine packs massive intensity to stand up to Gravy, sauces and even horseradish.

Despite being a very adventurous drinker, I love a classic Bordeaux. Chateau Cantemerle is part of the exclusive 1855 classification, which recognises the best estates in Bordeaux. This Cab Sauv blend show classic notes of blackcurrant and cigar box (wood and smoke basically). With a big of age on the wine, it’s also developed some smooth leathery notes.

If you’re looking for a red that works with Roast beef but can also be enjoyed on it’s own, you’ll love the Chateau Cruzeau. Part of the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classification, this wine is 73% Merlot, 27% Cab Franc. It shows that velvety smooth and incredibly drinkable quality that good Merlot oozes.

The wines of Bordeaux are so popular, that wine regions all over the world use Bordeaux as a template. None have this more successfully than Bolgheri. The wines are often referred to as “Super Tuscans” and combine Cab Sauv, Merlot and Sangivoese (the grape of Chianti). This wine is rich, powerful and shows a great alternative to classic Bordeaux.

It’s not all Port, Portugal’s red are seriously under-rated (& under-valued)

This year we have 3 outstanding wines from Portugal, all of which will work great with Roast Beef.

the Mariana Tinto is a returning favourite that has got even better now that it’s moved onto a new vintage. If you love big fruit and loads of vanilla from oak, this is for you. at £12 a bottle, it’s a lot of wine for the price.

Cabriz Special Edition is one of the most surprising wines of the year for me. Whilst it’s smoother and lighter than all the other wines in this post, it firmly belongs here. the wines is from 2005 and has developed great complexity whilst holding onto its tannin structure and fruit.

The Rola Tinto is possibly one of the best selling wines this year. Not only does it’s squatty bottle and sleek design make it a brilliant gift, it’s also a cracking wine. This Douro red is rustic, oaky and spicy, which works perfectly with Roast Beef.

Feeding a crowd?

Having a few people around this Christmas? Chances are you will need more than one bottle. So why not go for a magnum. Everyone remembers the time they drank a Magnum of wine, the is a certain “Boss Factor” about it, in the same way, they make exceptional gifts. This year we’ve found a classic Mendoza Valley Malbec in Magnum for under £30!

Christmas, News

5 Great Wines for Christmas Day Turkey

Christmas day turkey deserves a great bottle of wine to match.

For many, this could be the most important meal of year, a rare opportunity to get our favourite people all together for a meal. With that in mind, I feel it’s important to have a great bottle of wine for Turkey.

Whilst it may be the main event of the dish, the turkey, isn’t really a key consideration in the pairing. Instead, more flavoursome elements like pigs in blankets, sprouts and roast potatoes are what we need to focus on. In food and wine pairing we match intensity so what ever wine you go for, it needs to be flavoursome. The sheer richness of this dishes means that high acidity is key, you need something to cut through the dish. Whilst you could go for something like a Cab Sauv or a Shiraz, my preference is for a light red or full bodied white. It’s already a big meal, and lighter or fresher wine can be a welcome break. So here are my top choices for 2022.

Poultry & pinot noir are perfect

One of my favourite matches is Pinot Noir. Whilst I had considered a classic Red Burgundy, I was given this as a sample and was blown away by the quality of this wine for the price. Furthermore, Burgundy is a major influence on this wine. The vines come from Burgundy cuttings and the vineyards are located in the cool region of Elgin. The wine shows beautiful purity with layered red fruits, cranberry, raspberry, silky tannins and a long, savoury finish. Whilst it’s a premium wine, it’s well worth the money.

A pinot with some punch!

Whilst popular with many, some can find Pinot noir lacking intense (sometimes described as watery). That definitely can’t be said about the Lockwood Pinot Noir. This Californian Pinot Noir has more body and is brimming with super ripe red fruits. It also works fantastically as a good all rounder with a cheeseboard.

Are you feeling adventurous?

It’s no secret that I love Greek wines, they offer such exciting varieties and exceptional value for money. Xinomavro is one of Greece’s premier red varieties, often described as a cross between Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir. This wine shows notes of dried red fruits, leathery oak and dried herbs.

Prefer white over red?

If you prefer white wine with your Turkey, oaked wines are spot on. Again, the fantastic South African producer of Lismore stood out for me. This wine has all the hallmarks of a white Burgundy, but at about half the price. This wine shows the perfect balance between rich complexity and refreshing mineral notes.

Feeding a crowd?

If you’ve got loads of people around for Christmas this year, you may favour quantity. This White Rioja has smooth oaky complexity and juicy stone fruit, but sits at just £12 a bottle.

Wine Pairing

Wine Pairing: Side of Salmon cooked on a plank.

Ever since I saw this recipe in Tom Kerridge’s Outdoor Cooking, I’ve wanted to try cooking a side of Salmon on a plank. Not only is this a great opportunity to try something new and exciting on the barbecue, but it promised to be a great way to keep Salmon from over-cooking. After being gifted a Green Olive plank by some lovely customers, I was all set to go.

Simply put, the results were amazing! Juicy Salmon packed with refreshing notes Lemon and Rosemary (which the Salmon rest on) but also rich smokey notes from the plank. The heat from the barbecue gives the Salmon a bit of crispiness on the outside, but as the water from the plank evaporates, it steams the salmon. We enjoyed this with potatoes (recipe also from Tom Kerridges book) and tender-stem Broccoli. I’ve enjoyed this recipe several times since.

With regards to Wine Pairing, there is a few things to consider:

Salmon: A very oily, meaty fish, a good pairing will have high acidity to cut through the oiliness (in the same way that Lemon does). Because it’s meatier, we can look at medium to full bodied wines; Light bodied wines may come across to thin and watery.

Method of Cooking: Barbecuing adds flavours (and normally intense flavours), a good pairing will need to match this intensity. These roasted / toasting / charred flavours can either be complemented with oaked wines (a bit of care when pairing with red and fish and tannins aren’t great friends), or contrasted (the better option if you’re wanting to go for a red).

Which leads us to the following options

White Wine Options: Oaked Chardonnays (cool or moderate climates ideally), Pinot Gris, Alsatian Rieslings, Loire Valley Chenin Blancs (Vouvray or Savennieres).

Rose Wine Options: Deeper coloured options are best, basically not your Provence or Pinot Grigio Blush style.

Red Wine Options: Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Mencia

Wine Pairing

Nero d’Avola ‘Kore’, Colomba Bianca, Sicily, Italy

Not that I really need an excuse, but the hot hot weather has made outdoor cooking almost essential at The Wee Vinoteca Home. This means embracing the joys of the Barbecue. The cooking can sometimes be unpredictable, but the results are almost always delicious. One dish that I keep coming back to is barbecue roasted butternut squash and greens. This recipe comes from The Green Barbecue by the fantastic Rukmini Iyer. The result is tender, smokey and sweet with a lovely bite from the green veg. One cooked, spread everything out on a board and leave a space in the centre. Rukmini’s recipes saves this space for a up-turned pot of ricotta, but I’ve also substituted this for butchers sausages or steak. For all versions, Our Nero d’Avola “Kore” has been a delicious pairing.

Nero d’Avola is an under-rated variety from an under-rated part of Italy, making it exactly the sort of wine that The Wee Vinoteca wants to introduce people to. This organic wine has the sort of fruit intensity that Malbec and Shiraz Lovers will enjoy, but tends to come across a bit softer and fruitier, which I find makes it a bit better suited to summer drinking. We also stock the Grillo (another indigenous variety) from the same producer, which is a real staff favourite.

Nero d’Avola Tasting Notes

Duncan Says: Super juicy dark fruits makes this a great alternative for Malbec Lovers.

Tasting Notes: Quintessential Nero d’Avola with rich, concentrated brambly and blackberry fruits and a seductive note of spice combined with rose perfume.

Grape: Nero d’Avola

Best Enjoyed: Fantastic with a cheese board, burgers or barbecued root veggies.

Good to Know: Established in 1970, Colomba Bianca is the largest Sicilian grower cooperative and the biggest Italian producer of organic wine, with more than 1,800 hectares dedicated to organically farmed vines.


WSET Level 2: Key regions and their varieties


Burgundy (Bourgogne) – Pinot Noir , Chardonnay

  • Chablis – Chardonnay
  • Cote D’or – PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay
    • Cote de Nuits
      • Gevrey-Chambertin – PINOT NOIR
      • Nuits-Saint-George – PINOT NOIR
    • Cote de Beaune
      • Beaune – PINOT NOIR
      • Pommard – PINOT NOIR
      • Mersault – Chardonnay
      • Puligny-Montratchet – Chardonnay
  • Maconnais – Chardonnay
    • Pouilly-Fuisse – Chardonnay
    • Macon – Chardonnay

Loire – Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc

  • Vouvray – Chenin Blanc (only variety permitted)
  • Sancerre – Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pouilly-Fume – Sauvignon Blanc
  • Touraine – Sauvignon Blanc

Bordeaux – Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cab Sav

  • Graves (Left Bank) – Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cab Sav
    • Pessac-Leognan – Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cab Sav
  • Sauternes – Semillion
  • Medoc (Left Bank) – Cab Sav, Merlot
    • Pauillac – Cab Sav, Merlot
  • Haut-Medoc (Left Bank) – Cab Sav, Merlot
    • Margaux – Cab Sav, Merlot
  • Right Bank – Merlot
    • Pomerol – Merlot
    • Saint-Emilion – Merlot

Beaujolais – Gamay

  • Fleurie – Gamay

Northern Rhone – Viognier, Syrah

  • Condrieu – Viognier
  • Cote Rotie – Syrah
  • Hermitage – Syrah
  • Crozes-Hermitage – Syrah

Southern Rhone – Grenache

  • Cotes du Rhone – Grenache
    • Chateauneuf-du-Pape – Grenache

South of France – Syrah, Grenache

  • Minervois – Syrah, Grenache
  • Pays D’oc – Syrah

Alsace – Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer

Champagne – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Meunier


Primitivo, Pinot Grigio, Cortese, Garganega, Verdicchio, Fiano, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Corvina, Sangiovese, Montepulciano

Puglia – Primitivo

Abruzzo – Montepulciano

  • Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Tuscany – Sangiovese

  • Brunello di Mantalcino – Sangiovese
  • Chianti – Sangiovese
    • Chianti Classico
    • Chianti Classico Riserva

Piemonte – Cortese, Nebbiolo, Barbera

  • Gavi – Cortese
  • Barolo – Nebbiolo
  • Barbaresco – Nebbiolo
  • Barbera D’Asti

Campania – Fiano

  • Fiano di Avellino

Marche – Verdicchio

  • Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

Veneto – Pinot Grigio, Garganega, Corvina

  • Friuli-Venezia Giulia – Pinot Grigio
  • Valpolicella
    • Valpolicella Classico
  • Soave – Garganega
    • Soave Classico


  • Mosel – Riesling
  • Rheingau – Riesling
  • Pfalz – Riesling


Albarino, Garnacha, Tempranillo

  • Rias Baixas – Albarino
  • Rioja – Garnacha, Tempranillo
  • Navarra – Garnacha
  • Priorat – Garnacha
  • Catalunya – Tempranillo
  • Ribera del Duero – Tempranillo


California – PINOT NOIR, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cab Sav

  • Carneros – PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay
  • Sonoma – PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay, Cab Sav
  • Santa Barbara – PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay
  • Napa Valley – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cab Sav
    • Rutherford – Cab Sav
    • Oakville – Cab Sav
    • Calistoga – Cab Sav

Oregon – PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay


  • Mendoza – Malbec


PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cab Sav, Carmenere

  • Casablanca Valley – PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Central Valley – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cab Sav, Carmenere
    • Maipo Valley – Cab Sav
    • Colchagua Valley – Cab Sav

South Africa

PINOT NOIR, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cab Sav, Pinotage

  • Walker Bay – PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay
  • Western Cape – Chardonnay, Pinotage
  • Constantia – Sauvignon Blanc
  • Elgin – Sauvignon Blanc
  • Stellenbosch – Merlot, Cab Sav


PINOT NOIR, Reisling, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cab Sav, Shiraz, Grenache

  • Yarra Valley  – PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay
  • Mornington Peninsula – PINOT NOIR
  • Eden Valley – Riesling
  • Clare Valley – Riesling
  • Hunter Valley – Semillon, Shiraz
  • Barossa Valley – Semillon, Shiraz, Grenache
  • Adelaide Hills – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Margaret River – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cab Sav
  • Coonawarra – Cab Sav
  • McLaren Vale – Grenache

New Zealand

PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cab Sav

  • Martinborough – PINOT NOIR
  • Marlborough – PINOT NOIR, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Central Otago – PINOT NOIR
  • Hawke’s Bay – Chardonnay, Merlot, Cab Sav

Two of my favourite wines are now ‘by the glass’

Portugal is a country that I find fascinating when it comes to wines. There is a whole new set of grape varieties to learn about, the wines are amazing value for money and the quality is amazing. So it’s not surprising that I work with a specialist Portuguese Wine Importer to find the best wines the country has to offer.

I recently tried two samples from this importer that I thought were exceptional. Not only are these wines now available to buy at The Wee Vinoteca, I’m currently doing them by the glass. Whilst I do recognise that these are both premium wines, If these wines came from countries like France, Italy or Spain they would easily be worth an additional £10 per bottle.

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